Signo: Freeware Hotkey Manager

Signo is described by its author as

…impressively complete hotkey manager…

Upon launch Signo slows the system (reviewed on a Windows XP computer) but then settles in the tray and provides a number of defaults hotkeys or what it calls actions to automate many tasks. Signo also provides the ability to add additional user defined actions. The hotkeys can alternatively be used and defined as the # key followed by a maximum of 10 letters, therefore it is possible to (for example) press Alt+Win+k to do an action or to set #awk to do the same.

The actions supported are Text, HTML, Open, Launch, MiniRAM, Windows, Grab and Auto. Text actions copy text into applications. It can be used to insert common snippets of text into focused applications without typing them every time. HTML is similar to text and also supports links and some other HTML elements.

Open and Launch are similar, both open files, websites or programs, but the latter supports DOS actions or command line parameters. In this case it is not really clear why they should be two separate categories.

Signo

MiniRAM optimizes RAM usage (see image) via user set priorities, a feature I did not attempt to use for this review as such tools are not always easy to manage.

Windows has a long list of pre-defined hotkeys with some applying to foreground windows and others to all open windows. These include quickly hiding a window (Ctrl+Win+H, toggle to hide and unhide foreground window) and sending it to the tray (Ctrl+Win+T). (Ctrl+Win+Up, down, left or right) snaps windows in the chosen position and (Ctrl+Win+S) makes the foreground window transparent are two of the other available actions.

Grab is screen capture tool, it can capture entire windows, specific areas and also provides options to choose where to send the resulting capture. A settings dialog box (to the right of eye (or execute) icon) lets the user change the target folder and other capture or grab settings.

Auto is somewhat more unique as it allows Signo to support abbreviations and to monitor typed words and correct their spelling. Abbreviations act as short forms so that one can type words faster. They are defined such that the desired entries are entered one per line with the abbreviated (or shortened) form being followed by a comma and the non-abbreviated (full) text. For the spelling feature Signo will look at user defined words (using the same format as abbreviations) and replaces misspelt ones with the correct version as defined in the ‘List of auto-corrections’.

Signo is powerful enough with its default set of tools and hotkeys but with user added entries it can be even more useful. It should run on all Windows from 2000 to Vista and requires the .NET framework 2.0 or later.

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